April 14 2021

For once the daily data is complete and on time, so lets us start there. The immunisations continue to be given daily in large numbers. There have now been 32,33 million first doses given. You will remember they have largely been paused so the second doses can be done. 8.17 million doses have been given making that number fully immunised in a couple of weeks’ time.

The number of tests done today is 679,109. This is lower than many days recently and may be affected by not many children being tested, as off school. Only 2,491 tested positive. This is a drop of 11.5 % in the last 7 days and reflects a rate in the community of 28.6/100k of the population.

There were 38 deaths recorded which is actually a slight rise but I suspect is due to reporting issues rather than of any significance. The overall death rate remains at 0.2 per 100k. In the hospitals, 181 further patients were admitted on the 10th April to join the 2,481 already there. Now only 370 patients are on a ventilator.

These statistics all remain very encouraging. It is too early to notice the effects of relaxing the lockdown this week. If there is going to be a reaction, and I anticipate only a small effect, cases will rise a little again next week, with hospital admissions rising a bit less in the following week. I am hopeful death rates will not rise due to high levels of immunity in the elderly.

Covid surge testing has started in Barnet in North London after a case of the South African variant has been found there. Door to door PCR testing has started and a mobile testing unit set up at Finchley Central Station. Wandsworth are getting on with their surge testing as they are in Lambeth. Both Boroughs have about 40 cases of the same variant. The track and trace programme should ensure these outbreaks are contained.

Denmark has tonight paused the use of all OAZ vaccine pending safety reviews.Ireland has had 550,000 Pfizer doses supplied to them by the EU. This was part of a larger batch of 50 million doses expected by the EU by the end of June. This compensates for the loss of 600,000 doses of the J and J vaccine which has been put on hold pending further checks on possible brain blood clots associated with low platelets.

Downing St. have announced that the PM’s trip to India is to go ahead but the length of stay reduced. He is still going to meet the Indian President. The extent of the pandemic in India is still of great concern.

A mix and match study involving deliberately mixing a different vaccine from the first one has been extended and a further 1,000 volunteers over 50 who have not had their second dose are now required. It is hope that it can be demonstrated that this is a safe practice and if necessary due to vaccine shortages could be done routinely. It may even turn out to offer better protection.

The Moderna vaccine has been used in London for the first time today, Wales gave the very first one a week ago.

Another infectious disease in the news is Hepatitis A. This unpleasant disease is caught from contaminated water and food. Sainsburys have initiated an urgent product recall on Medjool dates as a certain batch has been found to have possible contamination. Should you have purchased any of these take them back for a full refund. These Medjool dates are very popular amongst Muslims to eat when they break the Ramadan fast at the end of the day. It would be a good idea to check with Muslims who are friends, neighbours or colleagues and ensure they are aware of the warning.

Please do not go mad this coming weekend exercising your new found freedoms. Take your time to adjust, don’t go there if its overcrowded. Just wait a week and then try again. There is a big risk if we ignore the basic rules. This South African variant is on the lookout and has the capacity to cause so many problems if it gets a hold. It might be nearly finished in the UK, but it certainly is not in much of the rest of the world.

World wide we are still seeing 4.5 million cases a week.

Budesonide is a steroid containing inhaler often used by asthmatics. A study of its use in Covid infections suggests that its use in the milder Covid cases treated at home could shorten the length of symptoms by a few days. This could be a significant means of treatment across the world. A concerning paper just published suggests that in adult older Care Homes only 53% have met the recommended staff minimum vaccination rate. 80% of staff should be vaccinated and 90% of residents. This clearly is not good enough. Care Homes have been at the centre of this pandemic and with these figures will become so again. This suggests there are still 150,000 vulnerable people living and working in Care Homes with unsafe levels of vaccination.

It is no surprise that the government are again looking at compulsory vaccination for all those working in Care Homes. I think what is needed is the requirement to have a good Occupational Health Service for care staff and nurses. Quite simply if you want to work in this environment, you must not bring a risk with you. I would support immunisation being a mandatory requirement at present but let an OHS manage it. It is not the only risk, tuberculosis is still around in some elderly and younger adults with severe disabilities. Hepatitis B needs thinking about. I wonder how many residents have had a pneumonia vaccine? A full review of the quarantine and isolation procedures for each home is also necessary.

We are still on track, there is a lot still to do. For each an every one of us its our responsibility to get fully immunised with which ever vaccine you are offered. Everyone must remember the basics, with good hand sanitation, proper mask wearing and social distancing. Add to that avoid crowds and we are there.

Please play by the rules and just stay safe.

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